Phillies 2016 Coaching Staff: Rick Kranitz
By Ryan Gerstel
The Philadelphia Phillies coaching staff is set for the 2016 season, and we are introducing the group to fans in a series here at TBOH.
In the continuation of that TBOH series in which Tyler DiSalle and I are taking a look at the 11 coaches on this season’s Phillies staff, today I will introduce fans to bullpen coach Rick Kranitz, whose role should not be confused with bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo, presented by Tyler a few days ago.
Before being hired by the Phillies as the team’s bullpen coach, 57-year-old Rick Kranitz spent time as a pitching coach with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins and most recently, the Milwaukee Brewers.
Kranitz attended Oklahoma State University and was drafted as a pitcher in the fourth round of the 1979 MLB Amateur Draft by the Brewers. He spent five years pitching in their minor league system before transferring to the Chicago Cubs’ system, where he pitched two more seasons.
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Unfortunately, Kranitz never made a major league roster during his seven-year professional playing career. While his playing career never amounted to much, Kranitz would develop into a successful pitching coach.
He began his coaching career with the Cubs, where he served as a pitching coach for many of the Cubs’ minor league affiliates, and even briefly in the big leagues, for more than two decades between 1984 and 2005.
In 1994-1995, Kranitz served as the Cubs’ minor league pitching coordinator and was promoted to assistant pitching coach for the 1996-1998 period. He became the Iowa Cubs’ pitching coach in 1999 before landing as the Cubs’ assistant pitching coordinator from 2000-2001.
Kranitz would spend the 2002 season on the Cubs’ big league staff before returning to the minors to manage the Daytona Cubs in 2003, and he than re-visited Iowa as a pitching coach from 2004-2005.
Moving on to the Marlins’ organization during the 2006-2007 seasons, Kranitz made a name for himself as their pitching coach. He was voted Major League Coach of the Year by Baseball America in 2006, an honor earned by grooming a young pitching staff that became the fourth-best unit in the National League.
In an interview, Kranitz reflected on his journey as a pitching coach.
“I had been in the Cubs organization for so long, I felt like, ‘Golly, am I ever going to leave? Am I ever going to get an opportunity to go someplace away from the comfort zone I was in?’” Kranitz said, per Mike Berardino at Baseball America in December 2006. “When I did, it felt pretty good. It felt right to be around those young guys and to see how much they improved.”
Kranitz would move on to Baltimore to serve as the Orioles’ pitching coach from 2008-2010. In 2011, he joined the Brewers’ staff and resided there until the end of the 2015 season.
Now hired to join Pete Mackanin’s coaching staff in Philadelphia as the Phillies’ bullpen coach, Kranitz will primarily work with the relief pitchers, getting them ready for possible appearances during each game.